Kathy Centrone admits the sight of her swimmers competing in their own pool made for an emotional moment.
The Nelson Neptunes president was beside herself Saturday morning as the club opened its first meet at the Nelson and District Community Complex in three years.
“I got a little teary,” she said. “When the kids first jumped into the pool it was pretty exciting to be back home.”
Swimmers from seven teams were in the water over the weekend for the pool’s first meet since its renovations were completed last October.
Prior to that, the Neptunes lost a season in 2013 when ceiling tiles fell from the ceiling. Then during last year’s renovations they were forced to use a pool in Salmo.
All of that has meant the the 51-year-old club has needed to rebuild this season, although that was not apparent Saturday.
“We’re up to 40 swimmers this year, which is great considering we’ve struggled to stay — pun intended — afloat,” said Centrone.
“So it’s been good. It’s exciting.”
The Neptunes finished second overall behind Grand Forks at the meet, and ahead of Castlegar, Trail, Kimberley, Creston and Colville.
The Neptunes were also well represent on the podium. Kallie Badry and Olivia Cowan each finished first in their respective girls divisions, while Lachlan Bibby-Fox had the lone boys gold.
Matthew Holitzki added silver in Div 6 boys, while in other girls categories, Sage Cowan, Jaylen Rushton, Sarah Broen and Hannah Malenfant also had second-place results. Keira Badry, Morgan Robertson-Weir and Chloe Malenfant finished in third.
“They’re happy to be home,” said Centrone. “You almost feel like you get home-court advantage. You know all the ins and outs. It’s just exciting. It brings everything up a notch.”